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A Global Discussion About the Future of Our Cities

RIBA’s first-ever International Week brings together leading names in architecture to open a global discourse on the roles architects can play in shaping future cities.

A Global Discussion About the Future of Our Cities

Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center, New York, by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Elizabeth Diller). Photo © Iwan Baan

With an aim to bring together some of the most renowned architects representing continents around the globe, the Royal British Institute of Architect’s (RIBA’s) inaugural International Week is a high-profile event set to promote constructive discourse and debate on the future of cities.

Tackling the issues of design in an age when more and more people are living in cities than beyond them, leading professionals including Ma Yansong, Sir David Chipperfield, Odile Decq and Amanda Levete, among others, are scheduled to speak at a keystone conference. Titled ‘Change in the City: Opportunities for Architects in the New Agenda’, the conference will comprise a part of the International Week events.

It will address urban design challenges and opportunities as laid out in the ‘New Urban Agenda’ – a framework adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development that tackles how cities should be planned. The conference’s roster of international speakers will seek experts’ perspectives and examine key opportunities for architects highlighted in the New Urban Agenda.

Anchoring on three main themes – housing, cohesive society and cultural heritage – the panel of experts will seek to interpret what the New Urban Agenda defined by the UN summit (and attended by very few architects) means for architecture, including how it can be adapted by architects to stay relevant in the rapidly changing times.

RIBA President Jane Duncan has commented: “Architects need to play a vital role in shaping our urban future. RIBA’s International Week will connect with architects, no matter where or what size their practice is, to help them understand the potential impact and opportunities of global urbanisation. Under the umbrella of the New Urban Agenda, the week will provide explanation and inspiration, showing how the architecture profession can use its skills over the next two decades to make a valuable and long-lasting contribution to our future cities and society.”

The ‘Change in the City’ conference will form an integral part of a week of activities from 3 to 7 July at the RIBA and serve as a vehicle for discussion of current issues such as rapid urbanisation and migration, from architectural and sociological perspectives. The conference will be accompanied by a free exhibition, showcasing the participating architects’ work in relation to contemporary urban challenges.

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